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Satisfy your sweet tooth or craving for a salty treat on National Junk Food Day

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Whether you have a sweet tooth or you crave a salty snack, you are allowed to do both today because July 21 is National Junk Food Day. So go ahead and indulge in all your junk food cravings. This day is not to be confused with National Fast Food Day that is celebrated on Nov. 16. Some foods such as pizza and French fries are considered both fast foods and junk foods. What is and is not junk food can depend on the person's class and social status. Wealthier people tend to have a broader definition while lower-income consumers may see fewer foods as junk food, especially certain ethnic foods.

Junk food is a derisive slang term for food that is of little nutritional value and often high in fat, sugar, salt, and calories. It is widely believed that the term was coined by Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in 1972.

Junk foods typically contain high levels of calories from sugar or fat with little protein, vitamins or minerals. Foods commonly considered junk foods include salted snack foods, gum, candy, sweet desserts, fried fast food, and sugary carbonated beverages. Many foods such as hamburgers, pizza, and tacos can be considered either healthy or junk food depending on their ingredients and preparation methods. The more highly processed items usually fall under the junk food category.

Some so called "junk foods" do not pose any immediate health concerns and are generally safe when integrated into a well balanced diet. The average American eats about 25 pounds of candy per year. What’s more, each American consume about 45 slices of pizza annually.

Grab a bag of buttery popcorn at the movies, order some fries, or a slice of pizza. Bake a batch of cook and eat them along with ice cream for dessert. Whatever you do, enjoy National Junk Food Day with at least one of your guilty pleasures.

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